Angie got used to doing everything at a time. She can easily combine phone conversation with chat correspondence, while browsing documents and signing invoices. You can tell her performance is impressive — but how productive is it, in fact?
Listening to an audiobook on your way to work is one thing. But it is quite a different thing, when you have to study a document while talking over the phone and typing the answer to an important email, when one of your colleagues is standing at your door and is asking to "solve an urgent question", "sign just one tiny document" or "quickly go through a contract" — and all this is your recurrent daily scenario. Meanwhile, there exists a whole legion of urgent and important tasks, that you never touched and that only keeps growing.
When you need to make the most of your time, which is quite limited, you have to resort to multitasking. Another way to gain more time for work is to save it on sleeping, eating, and having rest...
Or you can stop striving to do it all at a time, relax, and start solving problems as they arise.
what about professional insight?
After a series of experiments and MRI tests, French scientists came to the conclusion that doing one task involves both the cerebral hemispheres, while performing two combined activities requires each hemisphere to operate independently. The third task gets totally ignored by the medial prefrontal cortex.
Canadian scientists assert that multitasking cannot be performed simultaneously, but only in switching mode, the speed of which speed can be trained and increased.
All these statements turn multitasking to nothing more than just a myth. Left and right cerebral hemispheres interact through neural circuitry. When multitasking, the hemispheres must work as two independent systems: the brain needs to switch from one activity to another all the time. Under these circumstances, performing each task is taking considerably longer because switching activities takes time for the brain. This leads to decrease in overall efficiency and escalation of stress and internal tension.
HOW TO MASTER TIME MANAGEMENT AND EXCEL IN MULTITASKING
1. Planning. Make daily or weekly schedules of important appointments, tasks and errands. For instance, you can try set three basic goals to reach by the end of each day. This will help you prioritize things.
2. Do not strive to accomplish more — strive to accomplish what you find important. Make the list of your most urgent tasks, select no more than three of them, and dedicate most of your time to them. All the rest, that do not require immediate action, can be handled successively.
3. Go offline and switch off your cell phone when doing an important task.
4. Use timer to control time: for example, set hourly notifications.
5. Apply efficient time management methods and practices, such as the "Eisenhower Method" (filtering daily tasks as important/unimportant and urgent/uncritical), or the "Pomodoro Technique" to elicit maximum concentration over one current task, combining 25 minutes of active brainstorming and 5 minutes of relaxation.
6. Dedicate some time to important tasks with uncritical deadlines every day.
7. Always have a list of errands at hand for the case of procrastination.
8. Do not postpone tiny tasks requiring less than 5 minutes — do them on the spot.
9. Every upcoming task should be planned considering its location, time, your energy resources, and priorities.
10. If you received an email that does not require immediate reply, take 15 minutes to compile a thorough and deplete answer. Do not reply your emails as they arrive — do it gradually, for example, twice a day.
11. Keep your cell phone switched off during appointments.
12. Put down any worthy ideas before switching to another activity.
13. Certain background noises, such as coffee shop noise, can help increase your work productivity. If you enjoy working with such sort of accompaniment, do not hesitate to download a simulation audio track to your computer and use it whenever you desire.
14. It would be ideal, if you could take a short nap anywhere between noon and 13:00 pm — even 20 minutes would be quite enough. Even if there is no opportunity but you still feel tired and unable to work — close your eyes and relax for a couple of minutes listening to soft calm music or the sounds of nature.
15. Your spare time also has to be scheduled — well, at least it should be planned following a certain strategy — otherwise, your brain will keep slinking down to the oblivion of current tasks and issues.
16. Sports, healthy and regular meals, good sleep and proper rest, meditation or any other sort of activity that provides for relaxation, concentration and energy recharge, less coffee and more water — all these should be included in your weekly schedule, excluding alcohol, especially before going to bed.
17. Brighten up your life with healthy habits and new hobbies in order not to get stuck in a rut.
some tips on personal efficiency from Chris Bailey
1. Give yourself less time for important tasks because time limit is the best trigger for concentration and focusing.
2. Take notes of the time it takes you to do daily routine tasks and analyze whether you can reorganize this time more efficiently.
3. Say "no" to unproductive tasks.
4. Always have one day a week dedicated to "maintenance activities" (shopping, cleaning, etc.).
5. Do not stay up too late. Be wiser than getting yourself trapped in a delirious labyrinth of chocolate and coffee the following day.
6. Keep your emails and messages short: make them sound clear and deplete. You can try limiting yourself with 5 sentences, for instance.
7. Never waste your time on searching messages: use fast search and assortment tools.
make the most of your CRM
- Waste no more time on email and SMS campaigns.
- Automate sending birthday greetings to clients and partners.
- Adjust notifications about important emails and don't spend hours searching for them in your mailbox.
- Set tasks to yourself and your colleagues.
- Create reports and analyze data.
- Fill out documents automatically.
- Abandon the idea of multitasking altogether: it is inefficient and only escalates stress, resulting in the loss of concentration and memory fails.
- Plan no more than three global tasks a day — the rest can be handed underway.
- Make short breaks, avoid overloads, adopt healthy eating and sleeping habits, and control your energy balance all the time.